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Why do Sales People dislike being coached,

even though they know it will help them big time


It's Monday morning and I am just out of a call with one of my Salesperson. He needed some coaching. It was long due.


What I observed though that he was resisting it.


He was aware that some areas were blindspot to him and it was glaring to the rest of the team, me included.


The first resistance that came in was when the meeting invite was not accepted though it was scheduled a week in advance.


That made me think as to why do Salespeople dislike being coached so much? What ticks them off?


Upon my persistent reminders, he finally accepted the meeting invite.


I had insisted on an in-person meeting as I knew coaching sessions work the best that way.


The meeting began with this line - "Don't you tell me where have I gone wrong?"


This was a shocker as my intent was not to pick at his actions but to listen and understand where he needed help if any.


Understand this, one of the key responsibilities of a sales manager is not just to pick mistakes but also to enable the team member so that they can go out and deliver.


Hence, it is not the right attitude to carry when entering into a meeting that "I don't need no correction".


I had to set the context. And I did that before we got further into the conversation. I realised that this person was challenged with trust as well as self-confidence.


He did not Trust his manager and had low self-confidence for some reason.


One of the ways to work on Trust is to Trust. My manager had told me this at the start of my career.


I shared my experience from the past as to how it had helped me build Trust with my manager and the kind of help I had received that helped me grow in my sales career. My manager had set the context as follows.


Here is how Trust works.

  1. You share fully without holding back.

  2. You do not fear being judged.

  3. You don't worry about your image, reputation etc.

  4. And the only outcome you expect is to get a perspective on the situation, very objectively.


If you play this 100%, the results are amazing. You will not only build an amazing team around you but also will never feel stagnated. In other words, you will see progress in your work.


With that said, I noticed that my team member was relieved and the air relaxed a bit.


We had reached some kind of agreement that we will operate within the framework of Trust and zero Judgement.


"I hate prospecting, I hate the very thought of calling strangers every day" was the statement that he made. I could feel that strong emotion in his tone.


I strongly realised that the reason for this hatred ness for somewhat deep-rooted.


This was because of some underlying belief that he had honed for some time, It felt.


I was reminded of this wonderful book by Michael Hyatt. Your best year yet is the title of the book. And in this book, he makes readers work on listing the limiting beliefs.


I decided to go through an exercise with my team member.


I briefly explained what it was all about, asked him to start listing every belief (formed-opinion) that he had on this idea of "Talking to strangers".


After 15 minutes into this exercise, he had listed all that that came to his mind, about this. And there it was glaring at as to why he disliked prospecting.


Beliefs that he had around this were so strong and limiting that it had impacted his behaviour in adult life.


On probing further, I came to know that he had a bad experience as a child with a stranger and his parents since then had strictly warned him not to trust anyone outside of the family circle. This had happened a good thirty years ago.


Was it relevant in the current scenario? Was there any point in holding onto such a belief?


Certainly not.


What was the solution? To replace the limiting belief with a liberating truth(a term from the same book). One that helped in making progress.


I asked him to replace that limiting belief with one that would aid him in initiating a call and having a conversation with people who were also employees of respectable organizations and not total random strangers.


This entire discussion took almost an hour. I realised that by trusting each other we had unearthed this limiting belief which had hindered my team member to a great extent. His behaviour towards strangers had prevented him from becoming an effective prospector.


I also noticed that this person was greatly relieved as he had discovered something that had made him more self-aware.


Instead, of wallowing in low self-confidence, this discovery had opened up a possibility. He thanked me and I could see that all the resistance that he had, at the beginning of the meeting, had just gone.


I too had learnt a couple of lessons from this meeting. As managers, we need to make ourselves "Trust-able", in other words, work towards instilling trust among the team members so that they feel safe to share and get help!






Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash


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